Written on the body

  • One of my eyes is slightly larger than the other. It’s apparent in photographs when I am smiling.
  • My legs always get a pleasant, healthful tan in the summer, but the rest of my body stays resolutely pale.
  • I can wiggle my ears with impunity.
  • I have a chipped tooth in the front, from a cul-de-sac hockey game.
  • My hair doesn’t like the water from other people’s houses.
  • I am extremely vein-y.
  • My mouth is apparently too small for my head. According to dentists. Also according to dentists, I have very shapely teeth.
  • Like my mother, my left leg aches when I am synchronized with the moons and the tides.
  • I like the shape of my fingernails; I dislike the shape of my toenails.
  • I have a mole on my right side that I always think is a tick. I check it every time.
  • I can barely touch my toes.
  • I have a tiny beauty mark above my mouth; it is cherished and never covered with makeup.
  • I have never broken a bone and have no intention to break one. I was always a very cautious child.
  • My hands and feet get numb very quickly (yo, Raynaud’s!) and stay numb when they feel so inclined. For this reason, I cannot stay outside for very long in the winter.
  • My second toe is longer than my big toe on both feet.
  • I have two fake teeth, because I was born without permanent ones there (thanks to a paternal genetic inheritance).
  • I very much like the color of my eyes; I very much dislike the formation of my hairline at the nape of my neck.
  • I have a very intimate relationship with my eyelashes.

Week 2: Daily yoga

In honor of my sister Grace, I am imposing a set of weekly challenges on myself. For 12 weeks, I will attempt a different “challenge” each week–to do one thing every day for seven days, ranging from serious to silly. At the end of each week, I’ll let you know how it goes.

Grace gives us a partners' yoga training session on the porch last spring.

“Ugh. Yoga.” This is generally my internal reaction when my mom and sisters want to go to yoga class. I am the only woman in my family who can’t touch her toes or jump right into a split. I haven’t the slightest amount of flexibility. Not to mention the fact that I am uncommonly bony and weak, so I look enormously stupid when I do yoga. I’m always the girl in class that the instructor will come up to, interrupting her instruction, and bend down and whisper, “No, dear, you need to be doing it like THIS,” and then she presses my body into some painful, unnatural shape. I hate going to yoga class.

So, there you have it. I’m maybe one of the only women in America today who doesn’t gush about yoga. Not that I don’t think it has immense benefits–I have just never enjoyed it. Because I’m bad at it. And my sister is a licensed yoga instructor! She’s a beast. I love watching her practice yoga; it really is a beautiful thing. Talking with Grace about yoga has really made me see how positive and affirming it can be–I just don’t really believe that it will ever be positive or affirming for me. I’d rather run an 8K than take an hour-long yoga class.

I committed to this challenge because I’m trying to conquer my general fear of yoga. I don’t know if it worked. I’ll confess that I kind of broke this challenge and I only did yoga for four days instead of all seven. So…


  • Yoga is a lot harder to do in the morning, at least for me. My body is so stiff! But I think it actually feels better in the morning. My head is clearer, my meditation is much more focused.
  • I still feel bad about my body when I’m practicing yoga. I feel bony and ugly. I don’t think I’ll ever get over this.
  • I like the meditative part of yoga. My mind does feel restful and clear.
  • I like how conscious I am of my balance and posture after I’ve practiced yoga for a while.
  • I may never get any better at yoga, but I’m not opposed to practicing it on my own, in the comfort of my home, without anyone–even Guion–watching.

Whew. Honesty is a bit exhausting. Thankfully, next week’s set of challenges is going to be a whole lot easier and sillier: a week of red lipstick! Bring it on.